"Hey yourself." Grissom gave him a warm look when he finally glanced up from his paperwork. A worried frown marred Nick's face as the Texan watched Greg leave. "Something up?"
"I..." Nick's voice faltered as he searched for words. Gil waited patiently, ready to handle whatever it is that had Nick concerned. The Texan shook his head quickly, displacing the worried look with a nervous smile. "It's nothing, probably. I'm just being silly."
It wasn't hard for Gil to guess what Nick was worrying about. "About Greg?" Nick had expressed concern before about their resident lab tech, a concern that Grissom often shared. He frowned absently as he thought back to Greg's visit in his office moments before. Greg had seemed alright. There hadn't been anything troublesome in Greg's report. All the DNA tests had turned out exactly as Gil had expected. Admittedly, the report had been delivered rather plainly, but he'd attributed the lack of flair to the fact that there wasn't anything spectacular about the results. Greg hadn't showing off much recently, which suited Gil just fine.
Nick shut the door before he threw himself lightly onto the couch, an indicator that he was going to move the conversation into more personal areas. "I'm sure it's just my overactive imagination making things worse than they are, but does it seem to you like there's something wrong with Greg?"
Gil shook his head. "Not that I'd noticed." He wasn't exactly the most personable man on the planet but he liked to think he made himself available to his coworkers if they were having serious problems. Greg had been here seconds before and he hadn't mentioned anything. Besides, if there was anything going on with Greg, Nick would know. They were practically inseparable as friends.
"Maybe it's just me, but there's something going on. I'm sure of it."
"What makes you say that?" Grissom asked calmly as he moved to sit next to Nick on the couch. He let his arm settle loosely over Nick's shoulders, the most romantic he could afford to be while they were still at work. The Texan's face was set in that look that meant whatever it that had him worrying, it would continue to bother him, and therefore bother Gil, until they found some way to fix it. If Gil wanted any chance of getting Nick to concentrate on anything else, like his job for example, he knew he'd better play along and help Nick help Greg or whatever it is he needed to do.
"He's been late to work twice this week, leaving almost on the dot at the end of his shift. He's been turning down overtime when a month ago he would have jumped at the chance to play CSI." Nick's face twisted into a grimace suddenly, as if he'd swallowed a particularly nasty bug. "He's been distracted, and slow at work. His mind's not here, you know?"
Gil could name another person whose mind wasn't here but he wisely kept that observation to himself. Instead, he tried to rationalize Greg's behavior in hopes of getting Nick to let it go. "He just started dating someone, right? Maybe they're still in the honeymoon phase. Explains the distraction, and why he'd be reluctant to be in and eager to get out."
"The guy's name is Danny. Greg's mentioned him once or twice, but..." Nick turned his eyes on Grissom, an unspoken plea in his gaze. "But he's not happy. Even Sara's starting to pick up on it, and that's saying something. If he was doting over his boyfriend he'd be blasting music and talking our ears off. As it is, I've barely been able to get two full words out of him the past few days and the lab's been dead silent. Something's wrong, Grissom."
Gil had to admit that he'd noticed a sort of somber caste to Greg's usual activities but he'd always written it off as a result of the particularly gloomy weather they'd had this past week or something equally as trivial. If it was something serious, Greg would have told someone about it.
He shook his head. "I don't know, Nick. You could try talking to him later but I'm sure it's nothing." Gil moved his arm so that he could squeeze the back of Nick's neck reassuringly. "He's fine, Nick. There's nothing to worry about." Despite the sincerity Gil forced into his words, his professional judgment was telling him that there was more to the situation than either of them saw.
Nick finally caught up with Greg in the locker room at the end of shift. If he didn't know better he would have almost sworn that Greg was avoiding him. As it was, he just happened to keep getting dragged away before he'd had a chance to talk to Greg like he'd been meaning to all shift. "Hey, Greg, got a second?"
Greg glanced over once, a tiny turn of his head before his eyes turned back to the combination lock on his locker. "Not really, I'm running a bit late."
The lock snapped open with a loud click. As Greg opened his locker, Nick caught a flash of black on Greg's wrist, just at the edge of his sleeve. He'd only seen the skin for a few short seconds but it only served to heighten his concern for Greg.
"You alright there, Greg?"
Greg's eyes snapped up suddenly. Greg stared at him with a distinct deer-in-the-headlights look before quickly ducking his head back down as he packed his bag. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"
"That's a nasty looking bruise on your wrist, Greg."
Greg looked down at his wrist guiltily, tugging the fabric over the obvious bruise before he picking up his bag from inside the locker. "I'm fine," Greg answered automatically, not looking at Nick as he slammed his locker door shut.
Nick shifted his stance until he was leaning against the lockers, effectively blocking Greg's path to the door. "What happened?" He resisted the urge to tack 'this time' onto the sentence. He hadn't made it this far in CSI on his good looks or the fact that he was sleeping with the boss. This wasn't the first bruise he'd spotted on Greg and he was starting to get a bad idea of where they were coming from.
"It's nothing." Greg's eyes flicked between his sleeve, Nick, and the door. "I tripped, Nick. Not a big deal."
"Greg." Nick made sure Greg saw his hand before he touched Greg's shoulder. The reassuring move was spoiled by the wince Greg tried to hide, and he frowned. "Did Danny do that to you?"
"No!" Greg blushed as soon as he realized how loud his voice had been. "No," he repeated a second time in a softer voice. "Danny loves me. You know that, Nick."
He knew that was what Greg had told him, but he was beginning to think that Greg was just justifying the relationship. He'd seen Greg do that before with bad relationships and it killed him each time. Greg deserved better. "You can tell me if something's going on," he pleaded. "I'm not going to think badly of you. I just want to make sure you're happy."
Greg probably didn't know how broken his smile looked as he tried to reassure Nick. "I'm fine, Nick. Can I go home, please?"
Nick stepped aside with a sigh. He wasn't going to get anywhere until Greg admitted something was wrong. "If anything happens, promise me you'll give me a call?"
Greg paused at the door, looking back with the first passable attempt at a smile he'd seen on Greg's face in weeks. "I will. Thanks, Nick."
"No problem." He tried not to feel like he was giving up on helping Greg but he couldn't think of anything else he could do at this point, short of throwing Greg over his shoulder and dragging the kid home with him. It was all on Greg now. Nick just hoped that Greg had the sense to look for help if he needed it.
It took Nick a good five minutes to figure out what had woken him. Gil rolled over in his sleep, pulling Nick tight against him. The warmth of Gil's embrace and the thin blankets on top of them almost lulled Nick back to sleep, but then he heard the sound again, a light rapping on the door. Nick groggily forced himself out of bed, trying not to wake Gil in the process though he had a feeling that was going to be inevitable. Pulling on a pair of boxers and a robe, he rubbed a hand over his face to try and wake himself up a bit before he opened the door.
Apparently it was raining because there stood Greg, dripping wet on their doorway with one massive shiner swelling over his left eye.
"Shit, Greg," Nick moved aside hastily to hold the door open. "Come in."
Greg's eyes stayed anchored to the floor. He shifted feet but didn't step forward. "I..." A small hiccup made Greg's shudder, interrupting what he'd started to say. "I shouldn't be here."
"Nonsense." Nick reached out to pull Greg in, but that turned out to be the wrong move. Greg winced before Nick'd even touched him and pulled back a step, fear shining in his eyes.
"I..." Whatever Greg had been trying to say was lost as Greg suddenly started crying.
Nick was next to him in a second, pulling Greg tight into his arms and making calming noises. Somehow he maneuvered them both into the house and onto the couch before Greg broke down completely, going limp in Nick's arms while his body was wracked with sobs. Glancing over Greg's head, Nick shot a grateful look at Gil as he shut and locked the door before joining them on the couch. Gil rested a hand lightly on Greg's shoulder in support but he didn't make a move to join them in the hug.
"Want to tell me what happened?" Nick asked as soon as Greg's crying started to die off.
"Not really." Greg's voice was harsh and grainy when he answered. He tensed slightly in Nick's arms but didn't make any attempts to pull away.
Nick raised his eyebrow at Gil in silent question. They'd talked before about what Greg meant to them, but that had been idle chatting. They were both fond of Greg. More than simply fond of him if Nick was honest, but he wasn't sure how Greg thought of them. Either way, Nick wanted to offer his help as much as he could. He wanted to see Greg happy again, and he'd do anything in his power to get that.
Gil nodded, squeezing Nick's hand over Greg's shoulder, and Nick smiled back in thanks.
Greg looked confused as Nick pulled him off the couch and steered him towards the bathroom. Gil moved ahead of them, disappearing into the bedroom for a brief minute before returning with a pair of boxers. Shoving Greg into the bathroom, Gil pressed the boxers into the young man's hands.
"You're wet and tired," Nick explained. He couldn't help but smile at the look of dazed confusion on Greg's face. "Get changed. You can spend the night here." He didn't elaborate on where he planned to have Greg spend the night, but Greg would figure that out soon enough.
Greg nodded once before disappearing behind the door.
"You okay with this?" Nick asked his lover quietly, suddenly very nervous about what they were doing. There were so many ways this could go wrong but Greg needed it. He needed a chance for real affection and Nick was more than eager to provide it, as long as Gil felt the same.
"Of course." Gil kissed him softly as proof.
They moved a step apart as soon as the bathroom door started to open. Greg glanced between them shyly, hovering in the doorway, unsure where to go. Nick took the choice away from him. Clasping Greg's hand gently, he guided Greg towards the bed he and Gil shared. Despite the look of surprise on Greg's face, he didn't struggle or protest, just let himself be docilely tucked under the covers between Nick and Gil.
"I..." Fear wavered in Greg's eyes, mixed with doubt and pain. "I shouldn't be here. I..."
"Shh." Nick pulled Greg tight in his arms, rubbing his back soothingly. Very gently, he let his lips meet with Greg's, not forcing but trying to put some kind of promise in the kiss. He'd keep Greg safe, if he had any way of controlling the world. He'd make him happy. He'd make him feel loved. "Stay."
Greg's tension only seemed to double after the kiss. As soon as Nick pulled back, Greg's eyes shifted down to the arm Grissom had thrown over both their chests. "But I..."
The bed dipped as Grissom half-sat up, the sudden shift making Greg roll back slightly. Gil leaning forward to claim Greg's lips in a kiss much more forceful that Nick's had been. Watching the two of them, Nick couldn't help but smile, a series of wickedly dirty thoughts rolling though his head at the possibilities this night was bringing up.
"Oh." All the doubt was cleared away from Greg's face as Grissom pulled away.
"We'll talk about it in the morning," Grissom promised as he flopped down on his side again.
Greg smiled then, and let himself be snuggled between the other two men.
A happy smile slipped onto Nick's face as he started to doze off. "You're welcome." They'd worry about the logistics of it, and settling each other's doubts, in the morning. For now he was just glad that Greg was here and that he was going to be safe. Gil and him would make certain of that.